Bike Safety Tips
Ride in the bike lane or the street, NOT on the sidewalk (except campus pathways) – It may seem like the sidewalk along a roadway is a safe place to ride your bicycle, but it is not. Cars pulling out of driveways and up to stop signs cannot see you and do not expect you becoming from the sidewalk, which is intended for people on foot, moving slowly. Most bike-car crashes involve bikes traveling on sidewalks, invisible to the cars. Which also means that the more visibility bicycles have to cars, by taking the travel lane, wearing bright clothes, reflectors, and flashing lights, the safer the bicyclist. Campus pathways that traverse through the quad and throughout campus are acceptable to use for bikes, skateboards, rollerskates, or walkers.
Use the bike lanes and paths –Bike lanes and paths can get you just about anywhere around campus or around the Monterey Peninsula. Look for them and use them. Never ride in the street against the direction of traffic. We can help you find bike routes that get you where you need to go, and give you a bikemap free!
Use lights at night – The law says you must ride with a front light and reflectors on your bike when it is dark out. It is very dangerous to ride in the dark with no lights. Stay safe and courteous by using your lights. The more visible your bicycle is, by taking the travel lane, wearing bright clothes, reflectors, and flashing lights, the less chance you have of being hit by a car.
Follow the rules of the road –Your bike is just like a car in the eyes of the law, and you can be ticketed just like a car can when riding on the road. Use hand signals for turning and stopping, and do what traffic signs tell you to do like stopping for stoplights. Where there is an actual bike lane, you are allowed to ride outside of the bike lane to avoid conflicts/potholes/road debris, etc. On roads that are bike routes but do not have an actual bike lane, ride toward the right side of the road so cars can pass you if they want, but don’t be afraid to make yourself visible in the lane. Do not use bike lanes to travel against the direction of car traffic on the road.
Take the lane when you turn left –Left hand turns usually require you to “take the lane,” moving out of the bike lane and into the lane of car travel. Make sure you check behind you for cars before you do this, and use hand signals to show your intentions (_to signal turning left, put your left arm straight out to the left_). Taking the lane to turn left can be very safe, especially since car drivers can see you in the lane. However, if you are more comfortable using the crosswalk, feel free to do so, just remember that you must get off your bike and walk it across the crosswalk like a pedestrian.
If you are in a crash, get the other person's information! - Any time you are involved in a collision with another person, especially a car, get their contact information. If they were driving, get their name, insurance provider and policy number, and license plate number. You are legally required to do this, and it will payfor your injuries. Most students involved in crashes simply jump up and ride away. If you don’t get their information, costs from any damage to you or your bike may not ever be recoverable.